The 2013-14 NBA season has seen several big-named players opt to come off the bench instead of start like their contracts dictate. Injuries have forced players to limit their minutes in a more productive way. Both Paul Pierce and Deron Williams have spent time coming off the bench. Could others follow suit? According to Dwyane Wade, he will not be one of them.
Wade's productivity on the court has been put into question several times this season. The guard underwent offseason treatment and has been inconsistent in the lineup as he attempts to save his health for the postseason. Wade has missed 13 of a possible 43 games and jumping in an out of the lineup is hurting the chemistry on the court.
"With some of the guys being in and out, and with the concern with D-Wade, it's been tough on all of us trying to fill that," LeBron James said, via ESPN.com. "We've just got to be able to do a little bit more consistently, and go in with the mindset sometimes that he's not playing instead of [he is] playing."
So could Wade come off the bench like Pierce and Williams for a few games, allowing him to continue playing and not miss as much time? Do not count on it.
"We can quit that conversation right now," Wade said, via Sam Amick of USA Today Sports.
So it looks like Wade will not be going for any Sixth Man of the Year awards in 2014. Wade came off the bench for the first time during the team's win against the San Antonio Spurs. He does not plan on making that a habit any time soon. James also played less minutes during the game, something he is not thrilled on but understands might be necessary.
"I'm not playing as many minutes as I would like, but Spo is in control of that," James. "But as far as my game, I feel pretty good. Yeah, I don't like playing less. I don't feel like I need to play less. I can understand that we've been playing a lot of basketball, so Spo is monitoring that as well. But don't ever put it out there that LeBron wants to play less."
Head coach Erik Spoelstra intends to continue limiting player minutes throughout the regular season in hopes of keeping everyone fresh for the playoff run to defend their championship title. James is averaging a career-low 36.9 minutes per game. He is keeping the team together though as Wade has sat out the past five of eight games and has scored a combined 24 points total.